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"Toxic Black Mold":
Background Information

Fungi Kingdom
How a Mold Reproduces - It's Life Cycle

Fungi Kingdom

The Kingdom Fungi is a diverse kingdom consisting of over 1 million species and includes mushrooms, molds, and yeasts.  Fungi are mainly saprophytic meaning they obtain their nutrition from the breakdown and decay of organic matter. They can thrive in many places such as soil, plant litter, wood, live plants, dung, animal remains, fungal remains, etc, and play a vital role in the environment as a decomposer of dead-plant matter. 


Commonly called mildew, molds (sometimes referred to as "black mold") are a subset of fungi that produce fluffy or powdery growth on surfaces. Toxic molds can grow on cloth, carpets, leather, wood, sheetrock, insulation (and on human foods) when moist conditions exist.

Molds are ubiquitous, the most common form of fungus on earth,  and may grow at high levels indoors, in a home or building, if the right environmental conditions exist. Factors that influence the distribution of molds are most importantly a source of moisture, proper nutrients, temperature, and light. 

Carbon containing materials that are abundant both indoors and outdoors may provide the essential nutrients for growth. Sources of moisture, which are usually the limiting and most important factor. They can come from high humidity levels, condensation, and water intrusion due to a number of events such as indoor leaks and floods.  Temperature and light may affect fungal growth, but are usually not a limiting factor since most fungi can grow in light and total darkness. 

Excessive exposure to molds can lead to adverse health issues for humans. The affects of human exposure to mold is not a new, emerging problem but has been manifested for many years.  Documentation of mold growth indoors dates back as far as the Old Testament:

From Leviticus Chapter 14, verses 33-57

  • On the 7th day the priest shall return to inspect the house.  If the mildew has spread on the walls, he is to order that the contaminated stones be torn out and thrown into an unclean place outside the town.  He must have all the inside walls of the house scraped and the material that is scrapped off dumped into an unclean place outside the town.  Then they are to take other stones to replace these and take new clay and plaster the house

  • If the mildew reappears in the house after the stones have been torn out and the house is scraped and plastered the priest is to go and examine it and, if the mildew has spread in the house, it is a destructive mildew:  the house is unclean.  It must be torn down – its stones, timbers and all the plaster – and taken out of the town to an unclean place.

  • Anyone who goes into the house while it is closed up will be unclean till evening.

  • Anyone who sleeps or eats in the house must wash his clothes…..

Molds can cause a variety of reactions in hypersensitive individuals ranging from allergic responses to neurological damage.  Molds may proliferate in almost any indoor environment where excessive amounts of water and organic matter persist.

The key factor in limiting mold exposure indoors is to prevent it’s growth through moisture control, maintenance, and proper cleaning methods.

How a Mold Reproduces – It’s Life Cycle:

When the appropriate conditions for growth exist:  presence of moisture, nutrients, temperature,  etc, the mold begins to reproduce via it’s life cycle.

Hyphal Growth:  Hyphae are the thread-like filamentous cells that release enzymes which degrade and absorb nutrients from a substrate (ie. oganic debris, cellulose, wood, almost any carbon containing material including human skin). Upon obtaining it’s nutrition, the hyphae will grow into a mycelium, the main body of the fungus which is also the visible portion.

Spore Formation:  Spores form on the ends of some hyphael cells.  The formation of spores is dependent on a variety of environmental factors including light, oxygen levels, temperature, and nutrient availability.

Spore Dispersal:  After the spores are formed, they are released into the air and carried elsewhere to begin the process of germination and growth all over again. Mold spores are highly resistant and durable.  They can remain dormant for years in even hot and dry environments.

Spore Germination:  Once the spore is dispersed to a new area and when the appropriate conditions exist, moisture and nutrient availability, the spore will begin to germinate into a new hyphael cell. 

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